House 2023 Budget Proposal Would Boost Education Spending, Add $500 to Max Pell Grant

By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Managing Editor

The House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-H) Appropriations Subcommittee on Thursday forwarded its fiscal year 2023 spending plan to the full appropriations committee.

The bill contains an overall request of $86.7 billion in discretionary appropriations for the Department of Education (ED), an increase of $10.3 billion above the fiscal year 2022 enacted level, but $1.6 billion less than President Joe Biden’s request for fiscal year 2023.

The White House budget request included $88.3 billion in discretionary funding for ED programs, which is a 17% increase from the 2022 enacted level, including $26.3 billion for federal student aid programs.

As unveiled, the House measure — which faces long odds at enactment in its current form — would provide $24.6 billion for student aid programs, including a $500 increase to the maximum Pell Grant, which would boost the 2023-24 maximum award to $7,395. This $500 increase in discretionary funding is less than the increase included in Biden’s discretionary budget request, which committed to double the award by 2029 and increase the maximum award to $8,670 for the 2023-24 award year.

The bill also includes increases for the campus-based aid programs, boosting Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) funding to $920 million and increasing Federal Work-Study (FWS) spending to $1.2 billion. The funding levels proposed in the bill for SEOG and FWS are $25 million and $34 million more than fiscal year (FY) 2022 spending, respectively, and are a slightly more than the SEOG and FWS funding included in the administration’s budget request, which was basing its request on spending levels that had yet to be finalized in the fiscal year 2022 package.

The spending plan also provides higher education programs with an increase of $968 million above the fiscal year 2022 enacted level by allocating $1.3 billion for Federal TRIO programs, and $408 million for GEAR UP.

Career and technical education (CTE) would be funded at $2.2 billion, which is an increase of $124 million from the enacted level of fiscal year 2022.

During Thursday's subcommittee markup, the committee formally began the process of moving the legislation through the chamber, with members committing to working with one another to complete the budgeting process in a timely manner.

Subcommittee Chairwoman Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) said that the committee’s leadership had made a mutual commitment to the legislation and would work together and garner bipartisan bicameral support.

“We must also recognize that higher education remains unreachable for far too many,” DeLauro said. “We are expanding access to postsecondary education with a critical $500 increase to the maximum Pell Grant.”

In opening remarks, subcommittee ranking member Rep.Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said the committee conducted an “exceptional” group of hearings throughout the process. Cole also thanked DeLauro for incorporating bipartisan priorities, which include funding special education programs as well as TRIO and GearUp to help first-generation students complete college.

Yet Republicans expressed concern over the topline numbers in the package.

Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), the full committee’s ranking member, joined Cole in highlighting the plan’s “excessive spending” and policy riders, unrelated to higher education, that would not enable members to find common ground like they did in the fiscal year 2022 bill.

The full committee is expected to consider the measure during a markup on Thursday, June 30, when members will likely engage in extensive debate surrounding amendments to the bill.

During the subcommittee markup, Rep. Royball Allard (D-Calif.) said the committee was on track to move all the appropriations spending bills before the August recess.

“[O]nce again you have held a record number of hearings and are moving all 12 bills to markup and floor consideration before the August recess,” Allard said. “And we are all exhausted.”


Publication Date: 6/24/2022

Darren C | 6/27/2022 10:19:12 AM

I find it almost unbelievable to watch how the Government refuses to look at real solutions. They say, “We must also recognize that higher education remains unreachable for far too many,” So what seemingly is their "solution"? Increase spending.

It would be nice to see that the proposed "solution" doesn't just involve more spending. How about instead of making a bigger budget with higher grants we tackle the issue
of overall education costs in this country. It's as if there is this illusion of infinite
resources when it comes to money and spending. If costs increase, the thought seems to be don't worry the Government will just give you more tax payer money to spend. Where does it end and what is it going to look like? I have a feeling it is not going to end well unless there is a stop to this seemingly endless spending.

And to top it all off, we have the typical "policy riders, unrelated to higher education" within these bills and the members say “we are all exhausted.” Well so is everyone else. Please stop trying to shove through these spending bills in a short period of time and start looking for real solutions and real accountability.

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